Obituary & Remembrances
Rena was a very supportive and caring friend, and I loved her dearly.
More than twenty years ago, I met her and Gus in Norman, Oklahoma
at a cookout at Alan Munde's house. Alan played banjo with a famous
bluegrass band, the Country Gazette. Gus and Rena were great fans,
so they looked him up when they moved to Norman. Rena loved many
different types of music from bluegrass to Bonnie Raitt to Rene
Fleming, and so did I.
Rena had a graphic design business and I worked for the Arts Council
of Oklahoma at that time, so, I hired her to do several projects
with me, which is how our friendship began. The Council still uses
the logo she designed.
We discovered that we had many things in common; we both graduated
with fine arts degrees, we were both brought up in the Northern
European Lutheran culture (and enjoyed Garrison Keiler's amusing
satires), and we both loved Scrabble.
We played Scrabble regularly, drank wine, ate popcorn, and discussed
politics, gardening, families, books, and a wide range of topics.
Rena loved words and made sure that they were used correctly in
any materials that she wrote or proofed. Type design and calligraphy
were some of her favorite aspects of graphic design, and you can
see this focus in her artwork.
When Rena and Gus moved to Highland Park eight years ago, we began
daily correspondences by email. We managed to make short visits
to one another, never enough, never long enough.
Rena was the most conscientious person I have ever known. She truly
"walked the talk" and always tried to do the "right"
thing, not the easy thing. Rena and Gus contributed time, energy,
money to many political, social and environmental causes that they
believed in, and were always supportive of the arts and artists.
Rena's artwork addresses womens' issues related to social injustice
She was conscientious in other ways, less obvious to people who
did not know her. She bought fair trade coffee, organic produce,
non-polluting household cleaners and soaps, and became a vegetarian.
I loved Rena's sense of humor. She celebrated National Chair Day,
for example, by sending friends a print of a chair with a poem.
This was one of several wonderful small prints with poems or statements
that she produced.
She remembered special days of friends and family and always sent
thoughtful gifts, clippings of interest, or cartoons that had special
meaning to the recipient. Rena took the time to honor her friends
and family with a thousand small kindnesses through the years.
Rena has always been an inspiration to me, and I can only try my
best to follow her example. I miss her.